I was sitting in a gymnasium and saw the score board. It hit me that I don’t know if I’m the home team or the visitor. Am I the visitor and God the home team? Or, since I live in Israel, the land that God gave to us, can I consider myself the home team.? Could God be the visitor? Can I think of God as a visitor who only comes to us when invited? Perhaps we are the visitors to God’s earth. After all, our time here is definitely limited, as would be a visitor’s.
Is my whole premise wrong? Are we on the same team as God? If so, then who are we competing against? Satan? Ourselves? Our unconscious? Other nations? Our own dark side? Our ancestors?
What if there is no God? Can we still be judged? Can we, or better yet, should we be judging our lives and keeping score?
Is God the score keeper? Does God judge us all equally, or do some of us get special consideration based on our situation? (Is it true that referees/judges are truly unbiased?)
In the gym the score board is large and clear for all to see. Why do we need a score board anyway? In a basketball game a score board keeps track of each team’s points. This helps in several ways.
- If someone comes in late, or not sure of the score, it immediately updates the viewer to the situation.
- Not all baskets are worth the same number of points. If anyone isn’t clear on the point system, the scoreboard will clarify the correct sum of points for each team.
- The scoreboard acts as either an encouragement (We have them, keep it up!) or as a motivation (We can still win this!). Truth be told it can also work as a deterrent (Look how far behind we are; we will never catch up!).
Would it help us navigate our lives if we had a large score board hanging around in clear site? Even if we did have a board how would the score of our life be kept? Is it by the money we have in our bank accounts? Our stock portfolio? How big our house is? How many things on our bucket list which we have crossed off? How many friends we have? How far up the corporate ladder we are? How happy we are? Or, would our lives be judged by God’s point system?
If you had to give a score to your life between one and ten what would you give yourself? How would you measure it? Could you compare with someone else or would everyone use different factors? Would it matter if you could compare? Would someone else’s score affect yours?
How can we possibly give a score to our lives? But, wait! God did give us rules, so it really isn’t fair to say that we don’t know how to keep score. He gave us the Torah which laid out what He wants from us and the Rabbis elaborated on what was written in the Oral Law. But, is God really keeping score? On Rosh Hashana we say that God is judging us and that our fate is sealed on Yom Kippur. So, clearly some people do believe that there is score keeping going on.
Whether you believe that God actually keeps track of each of us or not, the concept of getting points is worth exploring, even if it is not in actuality. The problem is that we often get caught up in our day to day lives. Do some rules matter more than others? Is it more important to pray or go and help a neighbor? Is it more important to get a specific kosher certificate or not embarrass someone who buys food that is considered to be of a lower level of kashrut? Is someone who helps others more worthy than someone who prays regularly?
Each day can provide questions and challenges if we are looking for them. Should we be looking for challenges or should we coast along? Is it okay to be lazy with our lives and just slide by? The thing is, most players on the basketball court are trying to get as many points for their team as they can. Why would we give less effort in our lives?
I’m not sure what success is. And I’m pretty sure that happiness is not measured the same by everyone. But, I do think that we should all put more effort into making our lives more meaningful. Whether you see yourself as a visitor or the home team, or whether or not you believe that your life is being judged, get out on the court of life and try and make a difference!
Marcia Goldlist is a regular contributor of blog postings on Jewish Values Online. She was the author of one of the blog postings selected for the Second Quarter 5779 Jewish Values Online Best Blogs.
Please note: All opinions expressed in Blog Postings and comments on the Jewish Values Online site and through Jewish Values Online are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views, thoughts, beliefs, or position of Jewish Values Online, or those associated with it.
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